From great pain comes great change. At least that is what I have experienced in my time on earth. I used to believe that life would be bliss most of the time with a few bumps along the way. That was of course before marriage, kids and adult responsibilities. The first major interruption that came my way happened suddenly and very early on in my adult years, just 2 weeks before my wedding.
I went for a routine doctor visit before we got married since we were moving to Florida right after. My doctor seemed different than usual, and she looked concerned. Unfortunately, she found a very large mass behind my uterus. She was so sad for me and talked about the possibility of cancer due to the rate of growth and its abnormal appearance. Instead of going into surgery within the week as she recommended, I wanted to forget it all and enjoy my wedding, so I did. I was very angry that this was getting in the way of my wedded bliss. And this bump in the road caused me to be bitter for a while. My blissful but incorrect perception of life without interruptions.
One month into our marriage, I returned to my hometown in Amarillo which was a lifetime away from where we were living in Panama City, FL. It wasn’t a vacation, but instead it was a trip for surgery. I stayed there for four weeks until I was cleared to fly home. For years I would bitterly joke by saying, “yeah I was in the hospital on the labor and delivery floor, even had a c-section, but all they took out of me was a tumor. I didn’t get a baby.” This was a tough way to start a marriage, but it set us up and prepared us for all the trials that would come our way later on in life.
Difficult times have a way of changing our outlook–reminding us that things can change in an instant and how we need to see each day as a gift. When I look back at the day we were told to shelter in place this year, I recall many emotions: fear, disbelief, panic and even calm at times. As a pre-pandemic mom, I worked hard to NOT be busy. I limited our activities and classes. I encouraged boredom and time spent at home. Good old fashioned play was and is important to me. But even so, we still managed to stay busy. When all of our activities were suddenly halted in March, I was secretly happy at first because–I HAVE BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS DAY MY ENTIRE LIFE! After all, I am a true 80’s child who grew up playing outside, riding my bike from house to house. I remember waking up and going outside before 8am to wait for my friends to come out all summer long. And I probably stayed out until dusk just like the Goonies.
But despite all that, having everything forcefully stripped away–even church–became more and more difficult to manage as the days dragged into months. I then had a choice to make. Either I would choose to crumble or I would choose to change. If I’m really honest with you, I’m still trying to choose change over crumbling. Each day is different. Some are easier than others. These months spent away from society have been trying for us. But what I am pushing myself toward is remembering this:
- Be content in ALL things. Not just the things that go my way.
- We are guaranteed today–this moment. We are NOT guaranteed tomorrow. So cherish today and all it carries with it.
- Creativity is born out of boredom. I have seen this first hand with our 8 year old. She has created so much during our time spent at home.
- Stillness brings the opportunity to listen. And sometimes that stillness is uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to sit it in a little while.
So I want to know, how has this time changed you? What changes are you making in your home that you want to be permanent? Don’t let this time pass you by without taking the time to reflect on all the good that has come of it.